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Discussion Starter #1
So after having mixed results with my Bren MK II in 54r. I decided to take the plunge to .308. Picked up a South African .308 chrome lined barrel and a .308 extractor to go on a .303 bolt set up. While the gun fires fine, I have having trouble with the feeding from the ZB39 mags. (yes I want to keep the curved mag look to keep the WWII look to the extent possible)

Others have said that their ZB 39 mags feed fine (even with full auto). At the suggestion of one of our members, I added some "helper blocks" of wood at the bottom of the spring plate to give them more feed pressure, but I am still having problems with the bolt picking up the rounds. In many cases the round either doesn't get picked up by the bolt head or if it does, the round does not go straight into the chamber but gets stuck off to an angle, the bolt then slams home and either bends the round or dents the casing.

(With the firing pin removed) the gun hand cycles fine most every time. It has been suggested that it is short stroking and is under gassed. I have it on the #3 gas setting, but it has been suggested that the .308 barrels need to be drilled out to a larger diameter than even the #4 setting.

Does anyone have thoughts or experience to share.

Thanks,
 

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How does it fire with the l1a1 mags? Understanding that you want to keep curved but as a trial
 

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I'm neither a Bren historian nor an expert in the SA Bren conversion but I do have 2 that I've had a lot of fun shooting and experimenting with. It's my understanding that there were mods to the feed area when converting from .303 to 7.62 NATO. Add the fact that it's a SA conversion and using ZB39 mags, what you are experiencing can be a lot of experimental fun to conquer. I stuck w/ .303 since I have more stashed than I can fire in my lifetime but if the conversion can be just swapping parts, it might be a fun challenge to take on with the continued COVID lockdown.
 

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I had the same issues with my full auto gun when going from 303 to 308. I’ve used zb39 mags for the larger capacity. The zb26 mags don’t fit my gun.

The issue I have is the follower. The zb39 follower doesn’t present the end of the 308 case 100% correctly. I filed some 303 followers to fit in the zb39 mags and the 308 case is better (but not perfectly) presented.

Here’s my buddy shooting it on the 4th of July



And some Vickers action

 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah, I thought about the followers! Good idea. Can you post a few pics of what you did to the followers?

Thanks
 

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There’s not much to show with pics. I just filed some of the 303 follower length down so it would fit in the zb39 mag. File some off the front and rear of the follower until it fits
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Oh, I see, you just put the .303 follower in the ZB 39 mag. Is that the case? I may have to see if I can buy the .303 mag followers somewhere.
 

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Oh, I see, you just put the .303 follower in the ZB 39 mag. Is that the case? I may have to see if I can buy the .303 mag followers somewhere.
Brian at BRP use to have them and they were cheap. He probably still has them in stock.
 

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APEX has those BREN mag followers, SOMEWHERE!
When we moved the mail order area around that box of greasy parts "vanished"
Since we are building new shelving I expect they will turn back up!

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter #14
There’s not much to show with pics. I just filed some of the 303 follower length down so it would fit in the zb39 mag. File some off the front and rear of the follower until it fits
APEX has those BREN mag followers, SOMEWHERE!
When we moved the mail order area around that box of greasy parts "vanished"
Since we are building new shelving I expect they will turn back up!

Richard
Thanks Richard. If you ever find them PLEASE let me know.

David
 

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Yes. I put the filed down 303 follower in the zb39 mag and used the zb39 spring/follower/mag body/etc.

I still get some misfeeds but it seems very improved. I look forward to hearing how it works for you
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yes. I put the filed down 303 follower in the zb39 mag and used the zb39 spring/follower/mag body/etc.

I still get some misfeeds but it seems very improved. I look forward to hearing how it works for you
Thanks, I'll report back if Richard at Apex sends them over. I am also considering the possibility that the lack of gas pressure is causing it to short stroke. Perhaps it is recoiling enough to drop the spent cartridge but not so much as to properly pick up the next round. Whereas when I am hand cycling them I am pulling the bolt ALL the way back. Just another theory. Did you have to drill out the gas port on yours?
 

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Mine isn’t gas related that I can tell. Depending on the ammo and how clean the gun is I can run it on one of the lower three gas positions. I only had to run it with higher gas number 3 position when using weak ammo on a dirty gun.
 

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Thanks, I'll report back if Richard at Apex sends them over. I am also considering the possibility that the lack of gas pressure is causing it to short stroke. Perhaps it is recoiling enough to drop the spent cartridge but not so much as to properly pick up the next round. Whereas when I am hand cycling them I am pulling the bolt ALL the way back. Just another theory. Did you have to drill out the gas port on yours?
Gosh, I put a link in my last reply, BRP has .303 magazine followers at 75 cents each and they are in stock (970 of them). They are NOS but maybe you could find them somewhere else in better condition and less expensive.
 

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i totally missed this link in your post. Maybe others thought it was a sig line or something to ignore too?
 
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